Producer: Nick Raskulinecz
Personnel: Lzzy Hale (vocals, guitar), Arejay Hale (drums), Joe Hottinger (guitars), Josh Smith (bass guitar)
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So are women better than men? If the woman happens to be Lzzy Hale, then the answer is probably yes. I first heard Lzzy straining her vocal chords to “I Miss the Misery” on the radio some five years ago and instantly fell in love with her voice. Her raw, unashamed sound was what caught my ear and prompted me to find out who Halestorm was.
Over the years, I’ve listened to female vocalists in the Rock ‘n Roll scene such as Anne Wilson (Heart) and Joan Jett (Blackhearts), but not like Lzzy Hale. Not to take anything away from the aforementioned singers, Lzzy’s voice has the power and range of Wilson and the raw, gritty sound of Jett. It’s really quite the combination.
If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned the other members of Halestorm, it’s because in my opinion, Lzzy is Halestorm. In reality, the other members of Halestorm are solid but not great, and don’t really do anything special to add to her sound; it’s all Lzzy. Now before you think I’m being too harsh, I still think the band sounds great backing Lzzy, and Halestorm is one of the best rock bands today. However, since I sometimes wonder how great some musicians could be if they were in the right situation, I can’t help but wonder how great it would be if Lzzy could be surrounded by a group of musicians of equal caliber. A guy can dream can’t he?
For a cover album, nothing the artist puts out is new (duh) so what I’d like to do for each song is give credit to the writer, original performing artist, and give you my opinion of who did the song better. Let’s dig into this thing!
Still of the Night
Writer: David Coverdale, John Sykes
Originally Performed By: Whitesnake
Who did it better: Whitesnake
Halestorm went at the song a different way than Whitesnake by going with a little more tempo and drastically shortening the interlude in the middle of the song. Doing so cut roughly two minutes from the song. I get why they did this; as great as Lzzy is, this is more of Coverdale’s wheelhouse as he pours out emotion into songs like these. This songs has 80s hair band written all over it, and the 80s hair band did it better.
Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover
Writer: Sophie B. Hawkins
Originally Performed By: Sophie B: Hawkins
Who did it better: Halestorm
This one wasn’t even close. Halestorm’s quicker pace made this song way better. Hawkin’s version is more melodic and way more sensual, but Halestorm went in a different direction, making the song more of a ballad and much easier listening. They gave this song a much-needed facelift.
I Hate Myself for Loving You
Writer: Desmond Child, Joan Jett
Originally Performed By: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Who did it better: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
If I was just comparing the vocals, Lzzy would be on top, but the Blackhearts did a better job backing Jett. This is one of my favorites of Joan Jett’s, and I still love going back to it from time to time. Both artists did a great job, but I’m going with the original.
Writer: Tyler Joseph
Originally Performed By: Twenty One Pilots
Who did it better: Halestorm
What? Halestorm?! Call me biased, but I like the hard rock sound for this song. I do know that I’ll probably be in the minority on this one, but I just really like the simpler, less technical version that Halestorm provides. Give it a chance!
Fell on Black Days
Writer: Chris Cornell
Originally Performed By: Soundgarden
Who did it better: Halestorm
Nothing against Chris Cornell’s voice here. In fact, it was the musical arrangement that brought me to this conclusion. Halestorm sounded a bit fuller and heavier which I thought slightly improved upon Soundgarden’s performance.
Ride the Lightning
Writer: James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton, Dave Mustaine
Originally Performed By: Metallica
Who did it better: Metallica
If I have to explain why Metallica’s version is better, shame on you. Just the same though, I’m still going to explain my position. “Ride the Lightning” is the title track on Metallica’s greatest album ever (that was for your benefit, Mr. Collins), and really showcases all the things that made Metallica great. The powerful intro with Cliff Burton fingering his bass to perfection, Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield picking their guitars with feverish urgency, leading up to Hetfield’s screaming vocals, all give the listener a clear picture of what it’s like to face the electric chair. Heck, even Lars was good on this song. I didn’t feel that urgency in Halestorm’s version. It just wasn’t there, so I went with the old dudes on this one.
I give a lot of credit to Halestorm for taking a chance on the likes of “Still of the Night”, “Heathens”, and “Ride the Lightning.” Even when covering songs, Halestorm tends to give its own unique sound, and that is evident on this album. Even though I felt Whitesnake and Metallica performed better on their respective tracks, Halestorm does give those artists the respect they deserve with some solid performances.
What did you think of my choices for who did it better? Comment below and give me your opinion.
Awesome review, man! We may not agree that Ride the Lightning is the best Metallica album, but we can agree that Halestorm is one of the better bands on the rock scene today. I love these little cover EPs they’ve been doing. And also… new album coming soon??? Hope so, since they’ve been releasing these between full album releases.
I agree with all your picks except “Heathens,” but you already addressed that. I’m really digging 21 Pilots right now, and it’s really cool that Halestorm covered one of their songs! I thought I was going to disagree with you on “Fell On Black Days,” because I do like quite a bit of Soundgarden’s stuff, but, you know, I think Lzzy’s vocal performance is great and may even fit the song better than Chris Cornell’s did!
You said it, man. Halestorm sure has balls with some of these covers!
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